Wall Street Meltdown and a melting globe

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Global Warming, it is said, offers perhaps both the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced and perhaps the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had. Either we will figure out how to transform society, to a prosperous and sustainable path, or we will fail to do so with dire consequences.

When it comes to Global Warming and moving forward, one of the greatest challenges has been from those fearful, dismissive, disdainful of “large” government. Yet, to deal with Global Warming will require not just individual action, not just local communities, not just ‘business’ and market activity, but serious government engagement as well — policy, financing, research support, and otherwise.

So, a question that has to be faced: Is Wall Street’s meltdown going to worsen or improve the prospects for navigating the Perfect Storm of Peak Oil and Global Warming? And, the answer is likely: both. It is both challenge and opportunity.

Not entirely unforseen by concerned parties, we are now into a Trifecta (plus) of Financial Storm, Energy Supply challenges (Peak Oil), and Global Warming.  The “best” answer to each might be far from optimal for the others. And, let’s face facts, the history of dealing outside stove-pipes for decisionmaking isn’t necessarily rosy.  Thus, this very complexity will create serious challenges.

But … there are opportunities and benefits, such as that outlined by Richard Littlemore at DeSmogBlog.  In light of the US government intervention to save AIG, Richard points out:

This is what government does: it saves us from ourselves and from disasters we cannot anticipate. Good governments try to get ahead of that curve, setting policies and regulations that prevent totally stupid or predictable crises. I think its fair to say that this event suggests that good government has, recently, been in short supply.

It is a good piece, well worth the read, discussing government policy in face of “the financial meltdown and the global climate meltdown”.

And, truth be told, one of best paths for dealing with this Trifecta Perfect Storm could very well be a Green Stimulus package … for roughly the same amount that the US government threw into AIG overnight, we could make a real serious start to turning the tide on America’s wasteful and profligate use of fossil fuels while sparking new jobs and better economic performance into the future.

But …

We are now looking at an order of magnitude greater bailout than what we just threw into AIG.  And, unlike the AIG deal, we can have close to zero confidence that any meaningful amount of this will be directly returned to the taxpayer — of today or tomorrow.  We are facing a situation where those who have abused the system to profiteer, if not steal, are about to have a Jubilee year (century) on the backs of those who haven’t seen a pay raise in years, have seen their standards of living fall, and who are about to see their future signed away for good (actually, for bad).

We should be terrified.  If this deal goes forward, as the Republicans call for bipartisanship, with granting of dictatorial powers to Paulsen to spend as he wishes $700 billion (give or take), with no legal oversight, basically signed, sealed, and delivered by noon, 20 January 2009, we literally can kiss our future good-bye.

There are many reasons to “must do” something ASAP, but that something should not grant unlimited authority to commit massive Tax Increases on the Unborn.

What has me most fearful, however, is that rapid action will eliminate the ability to use this challenge to seize opportunity, to seize the opportunity for positive change for the future.

$700 billion more ...

In the face of this, who will fight for resources to deal with Global Warming and create a fresh start for the nation in the “ECE” (Energy Climate Era)?  Who will fight for clean energy? For reforestration? For …?  What about single-payer health care?  Revitalizing our infrastructure? Investments in education?  …  We will be throwing all of these opportunities, and more, away with a Paulsen dictatorship to bail out profiteers.

I am scared, no terrified, that thoughtless lemmings will take us (the US and the globe) over a final cliff into irreversability of catastrophic climate change.  We can deal with collapse of Wall Street (poorly?) but not the grinding collapse of the global eco-system to support humanity?

Some principles …

1. Accountability.

2. Responsibility: a bailout / war tax surcharge starting, let us say, at $500k and up — the elite are getting bailed out of failure, they can help pay.  We cannot put this all on the backs of the unborn and future taxpayer. Credit-Card Republicanism has to end, time to cut up George the Worst President Ever’s and McWorse’s credit cards — with prejudice.

3. Equity – Americans get % equity in any / all bailed out should give some equity share.

4. Learning: Those driving failure should not be in charge. For example, why not expand the FDIC with all institutions involved having to pay for insurance (with a new board, assigned by Congress — 2 D, 2 R, 1 mutual)?

5. Do not reward catastrophic failure. Those driving failure should not be rewarded … golden parachutes shouldn’t open for those who made the plane crash.

6. Improve the future: Let’s take chance to seize positive here?  Green Stimulus package? Green Jobs?  Other positive use of funds rather than simply a limitless bailout of failure due to corruption?

Finishing a terrified rant

For how long have we been seeing delay and obstructionism about $17 billion in tax adjustments for oil companies to continue the highly successful PTC for renewable energy?

How long have we seen lack of movement on program after program to invest in and strengthen the future?

How long have we seen piddling movement on minimal resources to recreate the nation along a sustainable path?

How long ….?

If this $700 billion moves forward into a Paulsen dictatorship, that “how long” will become too long and too late. We are already on the brink (amid) a catastrophe that makes Wall Street look like nothing.  But that nothing could seal the fate of inevitability for that catastrophe.

How to communicate such urgency?

We could see, in the coming few days, all of our fates sealed.

I am terrified for myself, you, my children, yours.

How can I communicate that terror to you effectively?  To Congress and the nation?  How to communicate effectively to avert this utter catastrophe?

NOTE Others are seeking to communicate this situation. Highly recommended is Joe Romm with this question: Is the financial crisis more dire than the climate crisis? The opening words: “Not even close.”  

10 comments

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    • A Siegel on September 22, 2008 at 5:46 am
      Author

    We need to work, together, to get Congress to stand up for the future, not end it …  

    • pfiore8 on September 22, 2008 at 4:36 pm

     don’t let them kill the dog.

  1. And a joke, too — thinking of “Katrina” victims, soldiers, “Gustav,” “Ike” and the many, many neglected in these past eight years of horrors.

    Is there no cap on government spending?  Weren’t we already into third generation spending with Iraq?  So, this would put us into fourth or fifth generation spending?

    Here is an action page — No Blank Check for Wall Street!  

    • k9disc on September 22, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    If you don’t give Henry the $700B, I’m going to declare Martial Law?

    Is that a possibility?

  2. I do feel your fear.  The Green solution makes much more sense than throwing taxpayer money down the rabbit hole and getting nothing for it.  We need to quash this bailout real quick.  

    Call/write/FAX/email your Reps and Senators folks!      

    (or all of the above)

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